American International School of Thessaloniki, Greece

Dr. Giampapa's News (October 4, 2013)

Autumn is upon us and the first month of school has passed swiftly by. In early September, we welcomed parents to the school with our Welcome Back Barbecue and into their children’s classrooms through our annual Parents’ Night. A special thank you to all who attended these special events. We also hosted the fall fieldtrip for Elementary and Secondary students. You can enjoy pictures in our Image Gallery.  The weather is so beautiful in Greece at this time of the year, so I encourage you to provide opportunities for your children to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible as research tells us that outdoor activities help reduce childhood stress. So, move your children away from the computer screen and into the beautiful outdoors this month! Finally, a kind reminder to bus riders that our buses work very hard to be on time each day for your children, but this only works with your cooperation. Thus, please remember that buses cannot wait for students at the various stops. They must be outside and ready to get on the bus when it arrives. I ask that all families work with us to ensure that our children get to school on time.

Pinewood Welcomes Ms. Caroline Curtis: Student Teacher

This semester, we are delighted to welcome our newest student teacher from the United States, Ms. Caroline Curtis. Ms. Curtis will be working with Mrs. Varsakopoulos’ Grade 5 class and Mrs. Tziatas’ Grades 1 class. Ms. Curtis is completing her final semester in the field of Elementary Education at The University of Alabama. I invite you to read Ms. Curtis’ Welcome Letter to the Pinewood community and come in to meet her at your convenience.

Marco Bustamante Commended in National Merit Scholarship Program

Each year, our sophomores and juniors take the Preliminary SAT, a standardized university entrance examination used by many universities in the United States. Students taking the test receive firsthand practice in three areas: critical reading, mathematics and writing. It also gives U.S. students a chance to enter the National Merit Scholarship competition, a highly competitive competition for the top scores among millions of students.

We are proud to congratulate Marco Bustamante ’14 as he has been named a “Commended Student” in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. This means that Marco scored among the top 3.3% of over 1.5 million students who entered the competition by taking the PSAT. Marco’s performance is recognition of outstanding potential for academic success. As a spokesperson for the NMSC says, “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence.”

Ms. Tsoulfa Selected as Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction

It is with pleasure that Pinewood announces Ms. Mary Tsoulfa as the recipient of the prestigious Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award for a second time. This award for excellence in teaching and for the encouragement of and dedication to the academic success of students at Pinewood American International School is based a Pinewood student’s nomination of a single educator who has made the most significant contribution to their academic career. This student must also be a member of the National Society of High School Scholars.

As the National Society of High School Scholars states, “Educators nominated as Educators of Distinction must be an outstanding role model and positive influence, someone who has made a lasting difference in the student's life by encouraging them to strive for excellence.”

Congratulations to Ms. Tsoulfa for the critical role that she plays in preparing students for success in college and in life.

Newly Expanded SAT Course this Year

This year, as part of our expanding College Counseling program, we are delighted to offer a rigorous SAT preparation course for those students wishing to apply to universities in the USA, Canada and other universities who require the test. The course will run on Saturday mornings from 10:00 to 13:15 and run the entire year.

College Visits this Month

Each year, colleges and universities from the U.S.A. and U.K. visit our school and present their universities to our students. See below for this month’s visitors and visit our College Counseling page for dates.

Lehigh University (Pennsylvania)

Florida Institute of Technology (Florida)

McNeese State University (Louisiana)

Davidson College (North Carolina)

Quinnipiac University (Connecticut)

Skidmore College (New York)

Kalamazoo College (Michigan)

Pomona College (California)

University College London (England)

King’s College (England)

Imperial College London (England)

Aberystwyth University (England)

Upcoming Events

  • Please be reminded to check the After School Activities Calendar on the website every Friday for the next week’s activities. Although the schedule remains the same throughout the year, there are occasional changes due to unforeseen reasons.
  • On Friday, October 4, Secondary Interim Report Letters are sent to parents whose children are experiencing academic and/or behavioral difficulties between marking periods. To learn more about this process, visit our website page regarding Interim Reports.
  • On Tuesday, October 8, students in Grades 1-5 will travel to Flogita as part of our Host Country Studies program. They will be led by Mrs. Amalia Spiliakou, our Art Historian and Host Country Studies teacher, and accompanied by all elementary teachers. Please see the Friday folder for specific information about the day trip.
  • On Tuesday, October 15, students in Grades 6-8 will travel to the Roman Forum in Thessaloniki with Mrs. Spiliakou.
  • Pinewood school photos with Mr. Kostas Papantoniou, our professional photographer, will take place during the week of October 14-18 for all students. An order form will be sent home next week with your child.
  • On Wednesday, October 16, students in grades 10 and 11 will take the PSAT Examination during school hours. This important test assesses critical reading, mathematics and writing skills. To read the most common reasons for taking the PSAT, go to our Standardized Testing page.
  • On Friday, October 25, please join us for the OXI Day & St. Demetrios Day Assembly at 13:30 in the gymnasium. At this annual celebration, students from Grade 1 through 12 will be performing creative pieces related to both Greece’s historic confrontation on October 28, 1940 and Saint Demetrios, the patron saint of the city of Thessaloniki.
  • On Monday, October 28, please be reminded that there is NO SCHOOL in observance of OXI Day.
  • Our Halloween Trunk or Treat event will take place on Friday, November 1. Please note the date change for this very fun event for EYP and Elementary students and families! Details and volunteer opportunities will be coming home in Friday folders this month.


Dr. Roxanne Giampapa

Welcome Letter 2013-14

Welcome from Dr. Roxanne Giampapa, Director

If you are new to Pinewood, I kindly welcome you and wish, as I do for our returning families, that the warmth and richness of our school manifest themselves in meaningful ways over the course of the year ahead. This newsletter, which will be published on the website on the first Friday of each month this year, is meant to keep you updated on the many, many events happening in our school.

Pinewood has the mission of preparing students for university and for teaching them to participate fully in the world around them. Also, at all levels, we encourage students’ development as individuals by asking them to take risks, seek knowledge and explore new experiences. Finally, as evidenced by the 35 flags flying above our school, our commitment to diversity is paramount to what we do each day.

In our Early Years Program (3, 4 & 5 year olds), we welcome two new teachers to the faculty. Mrs. Anna Maria Mathias is teaching our PreK1 class and Mrs. Isla Venters is teaching one of our Kindergarten classes.

In the Elementary Program (Grades 1-5), we welcome Mrs. Sophia Konstantinidou, who is teaching in our newly developed Greek for native speakers language program. In addition, we welcome back Mrs. Filiana Zafiriadou, who will be taking over for Mrs. Violetta Tournas, who will be retiring in mid-October.

In the Middle School (Grades 6-8), we begin our enhanced World Languages program wherein all students take two languages from Grade 6. In a recent article in The New Yorker, James Flynn said: “The mind is much more like a muscle than we’ve ever realized….it needs to get cognitive exercise.” His research suggests that exposure to more than one language is an excellent way of flexing those brain muscles—and building them up. In another study found in Nature magazine, it explains that learning additional languages proved to build the grey matter in the brain (and so does juggling, believe it or not!). Grey matter is responsible for processing information, including memory and speech. In addition, our Music, Art, ICT and Host Country Studies courses have been redesigned to give Middle School students the opportunity to work cooperatively in mixed age-level groupings. This new change will also enhance our project-based approach in the Middle School.

In the High School (Grades 9-12), our students began the year with passion for their studies and for those who are involved in service projects. Our seniors are well into the college admissions process and the juniors are not far behind. We begin new SAT preparation courses on Saturday mornings for all students applying to university in the U.S.A. this month and all of our high school students, as always, have demanding schedules on which to focus. Student Council elections will take place on September 25 (for MS and HS) and the first SC activity, the Halloween Dance, is just around the corner.

A few important upcoming events:

  • Parents’ Night: Wednesday, September 18
    This event, one of the most important, which begins promptly at 17:00 for EYP parents and 19:00 for Grades 1-12 parents, is an invitation to meet your child’s teachers and learn about the wonderful things that he/she will be learning this year. For more information on this evening, visit the Parents’ Night page on our website. We look forward to seeing you there.

  • After School Activities Program Begins on Monday, September 16
    Our rich After School Activities Program begins on Monday. Please be reminded that activities run from 15:00 – 16:10. The Activities bus will leave after all students have boarded and parents who pick up their children are kindly reminded to be at school promptly at 16:10 as there is no supervision after this time for children on campus. To view this year’s activities schedule, please click HERE.

  • English Language Center Begins on Tuesday, September 17Our after school English Language Center, for students from Pinewood and the greater Thessaloniki area, begins on Tuesday under the direction of our center’s English teacher, Ms. Ann Karapitsani. For more information about this dynamic learning experience, please contact Ms. Andrianopoulou in Admissions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Mountain Day Trip for Grades 1-12 on Friday, September 20
    On this day, students in the Elementary Program and the Secondary Program will travel to different locations to enjoy a day of bonding, cooperative games and outdoor fun. This is particularly beneficial for our new students, as it is a full day to socialize and get to know their classmates. Busses will depart in the morning and return before the end of the regular day. More information will be sent home in Elementary Friday folders and through email.


Please remember to wait until the end of the school day (14:55) to pick up your children in the main building. All classes, from Grades 1-12, have full programs from morning until afternoon. Thus, it is important that these programs not be interrupted by early pick ups. If you arrive on campus early, please feel free to get a coffee or refreshing drink from the canteen or go to our Library to read quietly!

Wishing everyone a productive academic year.

Dr. Roxanne Giampapa

Wishes for a Wonderful Summer

June 12, 2013

Dear Pinewood Parents,

We have had a wonderful end to the school year with a multitude of celebrations and culminating events. In concerts, drama productions, field trips and even final exams, we have had the opportunity to see our Pinewood students shine in so many venues and to celebrate a year of growth at our school. Indeed, it has been an inspiring finish to a wonderfully fulfilling academic year.  

Sadly, we say goodbye to one of our most treasured teachers, Mrs. Ann Kalathas, who has taught the youngest members of Pinewood, the 3-year old class, for many years. We wish her the very best as she moves to Australia with her husband!

We also welcome a new teacher, Ms. Sophia Konstantindou, who will teach a new Modern Greek program for native spekers in the Elementary school. In addition, we welcome a student teacher from the United States, Ms. Caroline Curtis, who will be working with our Grade 1 and Grade 5 students in the first semester of next year.

Registration and Payment Procedures for 2013–2014

Pinewood is committed to providing the highest quality of education to its students while taking into consideration the economic demands of our families. In doing so, we are pleased to maintain our tuition and fees at no increase again for the 2013–2014 academic year. Moreover, I am delighted to share that the Early Years Program tuition has been decreased for the coming year.

Accordingly, I kindly remind you to register your child(ren) and submit the first payment before the end of the schol year or during the summer months. You may view the Schedule of Payments options on our website by visiting and clicking on “Tuition” under the “Admissions” tab.

Importantly, a signed Registration Form must accompany all payments and is available in downloadable form here or by visiting Ms. Andrianopoulou in the Admissions office at school.

For all questions regarding Registration and Payment, please contact Ms. Youli Andrianopoulou in the Admissions office [2310 301221 ext. 13]. Your cooperation in registering your child(ren) and submitting the first payment for 2013–2014 is greatly appreciated as it plays a vital role in our planning for next year. I thank you for your support in this important process.

School & Program Developments for 2013–2014

As I always say, effective school growth is a continuously evolving process as ideas develop and demands change. Each year, we reflect on what we do and ways in which we can grow. Ten new examples of growth for which our school & students will benefit next year are: (1) a newly introduced iPad Pilot Program for Middle School teachers, (2) a dynamic, new online reading program in Grades K-5, (3) the installation of new equipment in Elementary and Secondary classrooms to enhance the use of technology in teaching, (4) official 5-year evaluation of our IB program, (5) the development of a 5-year strategic plan with input for all constituents of the school, including parents, teachers, staff, students and Board of Directors, (6) the implementation of important health and safety procedures, (7) the continuation of our English Curriculum Review across all grade levels, (8) the redesign of our World Languages program to improve class levels and provide for more student options, (9) a newly designed language program for native Greek speakers in the Elementary School and (10) the adoption of MAP (Measure of Academic Progress), a modern computer-based standardized test that adapts to each student’s responses in English, Mathematics and Science content in Elementary, Middle and High School.

We are so fortunate that you are part of the Pinewood community. Your cooperation and contributions to making our learning environment a dynamic one for our students each year is deeply appreciated and we look forward to welcoming you back again next year. Should you like to provide any feedback about your family’s experience at Pinewood, please feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Finally, please note that Pinewood will be open during the summer months from 9:00 – 14:00 daily (except August 12-18 when the school will be closed).

On behalf of the entire Pinewood faculty and staff, I wish each of you a wonderfully and relaxing summer holiday!


Most sincerely,

Dr. Roxanne Giampapa